Türkiye held talks with Russia, Ukraine on concerns over grain deal: Defense minister

All parties should be 'sensitive' to protecting Istanbul grain export deal, says Turkish defense minister, adding that he hopes to see deal extended.

Türkiye held talks with Russia, Ukraine on concerns over grain deal: Defense minister

On Russia's recent suspension of the Istanbul grain deal, the Turkish defense minister said on Tuesday that Ankara is in contact with both Russia and Ukraine to address the countries' concerns.

"Yesterday, we had a phone call with (Russian Defense Minister Sergei) Shoygu. They said that they were uncomfortable with the explosions and that it was against the agreement and that they could not allow transportation under these conditions,” Hulusi Akar told reporters in the Turkish capital Ankara, referring to Russian complaints of an attack on its fleet in Crimea last Saturday, which it cited in its suspension on Saturday.

He continued: “We thought we'd talk to Ukraine. We shared Shoygu’s views and concerns with the Ukrainians.”

Akar said that Shoygu is still in talks with his side, adding: "We are evaluating the facts to see if the arrangement will be extended."

Akar said that all parties should be sensitive on protecting the deal, adding that Türkiye hopes to see it extended. He said under the deal, Türkiye welcomed more than 10 million tons of Ukrainian grain exported to world.

He added that shipments are ongoing even after the ships which already left Ukrainian ports, noting that Turkish-flagged ships had no problems in shipments.

Russia on Saturday announced its suspension of the UN-brokered Black Sea grain export deal.

On July 22, Türkiye, the UN, Russia, and Ukraine signed an agreement in Istanbul to resume Black Sea grain exports, which were paused after the Russia-Ukraine war began in February. A Joint Coordination Center with officials from the three countries and the UN was set up in Istanbul to oversee the shipments.

For its part, Türkiye continues to take necessary initiatives with all parties to solve problems related to the implementation of the deal, which had sent out some 10 million tons of grain since early August, helping to stem a global food crisis.

Hüseyin Demir

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